When the weather gets sweltering and you need to be out or sweating away, the last thing you want to worry about is having your skin act out more than usual.
I work out once every other day, and it can mean a lot of clogged pores and spots if I don’t pay some attention to my cleansing routine. This is just a quick run-down of what I use/do! *Note: The methods and products mentioned work for me (normal/combi skin with occasional sensitivity), but skin response is very subjective from person to person, so you may need to customize the routine with products that work well with your skin!
First, Prevention is Better than Cure
If I’m out in the sun, I’ll apply:
A strong antioxidant serum. Try something that contains lots of vitamins (C and E are particularly good).
A good UVA-stable sunblock. I’ve said this a few times before, but most sunblocks on the market are not UVA stable, which means it can say SPF50 but the UVA filters could deteriorate within 30 minutes, leaving you unprotected from aging and DNA-damaging rays, made worse because of the false sense of security you get from not burning or tanning (most sunblocks can protect from UVB adequately; this means - just because you don’t tan doesn’t mean your skin collagen and DNA isn’t being damaged).
A hefty antioxidant serum like Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair is actually a fantastic “preventive” serum you apply to your skin BEFORE exposure. The vitamins help to counter free radicals and damage that occurs even as your skin gets exposed to sunlight.
Because Vitamin C does not stay stable very long, it’s also a good idea to add a stable powdered form like Philosophy’s Turbo Booster C Powder into your regular serum so you get a dose of fresh Vit C, which is one of the best repair agents against sun damage.
If you hate the feel of sticky sunblocks, try a Men’s sunblock lotion. I’m not sure if these are as prolific in the West as they are in the East currently, but I love Nivea’s SPF30 Pore Minimizing Moisturizer for men on days when I really don’t need any excess moisture on my face.
I wear a sun visor so (a) I don’t squint in the sun; you don’t want more frown lines, and (b) I get an additional physical block over parts of my face that are more susceptible to exposure and hyperpigmentation, like the tops of the cheeks,forehead, etc.
On to the Cleansing!
Right after a workout when your skin is BOTH greasy and moist, it can be hard to deep clean it. Cleansing oils will lift grease but deactivate upon contact with sweat. Normal cleansers remove sweat but can’t necessarily cleanse the grease off your skin. The solution? Use a Micellar solution that can dissolve and remove BOTH water- and oil-based particles.
Move on to your regular cleansing. If I am feeling fine at this point, I’ll just use Dove soap. If I still feel like I need a deeper clean, I’ll use liquid Castille soap, which is strong but still natural and doesn’t aggravate the skin.
To cool down after a shower, I might spritz my face with a soothing water with antioxidants or refreshing ingredients. NOT spring water. Those do nothing except cool you off. They don’t harm your skin but you definitely don’t need to pay so much more an Evian spray can when you can just buy a bottle of Evian drinking water for a fraction of the price and douse yourself in it.
Micellar Cleansers - The most famous of this breed of lightweight-but-powerful cleansing waters is probably Sensibio by Bioderma. Vichy has a version as well. If you’re in Asia, just pick up Cleansing Express by Mandom Beauty (above), which is essentially the same thing. Micellar cleansers are designed to break down even waterproof makeup and mascara, so using this post-workout is a fantastic way to really do a good first-round cleansing.
Muslin Cloths - If your skin has calmed down and you’ve stopped sweating, giving it a go with a cleansing cream and gently exfoliating with a muslin cloth is a good second step. BUT you don’t need to do this every single time you work out, as it can be a bit much for those with sensitive skins. Don’t aggravate your skin as it can cause more breakouts.
For a good face spray, I’d definitely pick something that is non-alcoholic and contains antioxidants. Believe it or not, MAC Fix+ is a GREAT soothing and antioxidant spray post-shower, after you’ve been out in the sun. The MAC Charged Waters work quite well too. Caudalie’s Beauty Elixir is also a fantastic cool-off if you’ve got normal-to-dryer skin, as it contains essential oils. But avoid this if you don’t like a strong herbal smell and minty tingle. (Otherwise, you can always decant your favorite alcohol-free toner into a spray bottle for this use.)